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TRACking the fate of nanoplastics in forest treES

 

Plastic pollution is a global issue and terrestrial ecosystems may be negatively impacted. There is a lack of information as to whether nanoplastics can be taken up by forest trees and if so whether plant functions are impaired. In a previous internal project we used 13C labeled polystyrene nanoparticles to assess nanoplastics uptake by trees. This provided first evidence of plastic uptake but the approach did not allow assessing realistic nanoplastics concentrations, due to the detection limit of the methods. In the present application we apply a novel approach to analyze tree uptake, interorgan transport and location of nanoparticles. By using polystyrene nanoplastics doped with Palladium to detect plastics in different tree organs with ICP-MS(/MS), we will have substantially increased analytical detection limits. In addition, we will localize the plastic nanoparticles with scanning electron microscopy and assess the impacts of nanoplastics on tree functioning.